Doklam is China’s sovereign territory, and there is no question of a change in the status quo, the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday.
China was responding to Indian Ambassador Gautam Bambawale’s remarks a few days earlier that the 74-day-long standoff between the two countries in 2017 was because China “changed the status quo in the Doklam area”.
The comments from both sides come even as the two countries have maintained that talks are on to improve troubled ties. On Saturday, India also confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China in June this year and hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On Monday, China also said that India should have “learnt lessons” from the 2017 standoff. “Last year, thanks to our concerted efforts and our wisdom, we properly resolved this issue,” Hua Chunying said. “We hope the Indian side could learn some lessons from this and stick to the historical conventions and work with China to ensure the atmosphere in the border areas is conducive for the development of bilateral ties.”
The Sikkim section of the India-China border was “demarcated by historical agreements”, China said, adding that the eastern, central and western sections of the boundary have “never been demarcated officially”.
“China is committed to settling territorial disputes through negotiation,” the spokesperson said. “Pending final settlement of the boundary issue, the two sides should work together to uphold peace and stability in the border area.”
While Bambawale had also stressed on the need for better communication between the two countries, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a stronger statement on Sunday when she said India was “alert and ready” for any situation that may arise in the Doklam area.